By: Nick Austin
With the NBA season less than a month away, let’s take a look at the front-runners to contend for an NBA title this season. The Clippers (+350) are the favorites to win it all this year after acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George via free agency this summer. Lebron, AD and the Lakers (+400) have the next best odds to win the title this season. The teams that follow are the Bucks (+600), Rockets (+800), Sixers (+800) and the warriors at (+1200). With arguably the biggest free agency in NBA history behind us, teams have jumped from playoff guarantees to title contenders in a matter of hours.
This NBA season is going to be hectic and fun to watch. The west is stacked with superstars and multiple “big 3’s”. The warriors, who have been THE team for the past 5 years have lost some of their best players for now after Klay Thompson tore his ACL and Kevin Durant left to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. Even though they seem defeated, the Warriors are actually very optimistic. They are keeping a very positive outlook towards this season and are embracing the underdog role that they have now taken on. The Clippers on the other hand are looking to prove themselves this year after signing 2x champ and 2x finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and 6x all-star Paul George. The Clippers were already a good team before this past offseason as they took the warriors to 5 games in the first round of the playoffs. They are looking to these two new signings to push them over the edge and into title contention.
The Los Angeles Lakers on the other hand already the biggest name in basketball in Lebron James, but that wasn’t enough, so they went out and got players that are going to not only compliment Lebrons playing style but that will also work alongside him as the the #1 option on the team. The team traded Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis. The Lakers also signed key players like Jared Dudley, Quinn Cook and Demarcus cousins, who tore his Achilles a second time this summer and is out for the season. The other big singing/trade this offseason in the western conference was the Rockets trading Chris Paul to OKC for Russell Westbrook. James Harden and Russell Westbrook played together on the Thunder before Harden was traded to Houston. Many are predicting a good year from this team since the chemistry between Harden and Westbrook has already been established.
The Eastern conference however is more wide open than the west. In the east you have the Bucks, who have the reigning MVP in Giannis antetokounmpo, the 76ers who have Ben Simmons, Joel Embid and Al Horford, and lastly there is the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant (out for season) and Deandre Jordan.
The eastern and western conferences will be very competitive this year if teams can stay healthy. Fans across the League have been anticipating the start of the season since the Finals ended in June. This will be a trying year for a lot of teams so expect to see close competition all year.